From The Founder's Desk
September is Childhood Cancer awareness month, and as anyone can imagine a rather significant month for us at The Dorcas Cancer Foundation.
At some point early this year we were in a rather bad place as a team. We had lost a few children back to back, we had endured a deeply disappointing experience with a parent of a child we were treating; and a partner who had made a lot of promises backed out and we had to face those families and explain that their children would no longer receive treatment for their cancers.
As things seemed to be spiraling down the drain, I found myself feeling very angry. Angry with those who promised little children something and failed to deliver, angry with the society for seemingly turning their back on these kids as they slowly melted away into the night, most of all angry with myself for having been so arrogant and naive to think that anything we did in one small office in one tiny part of the world could actually make any sort of difference. Angry with myself for believing in fairytales and happy endings. Angry, because there seemed to be no such happy ending in sight.
There were days when I asked myself; what’s the point of all this? Maybe we should just pack it in and move on with our lives. Days when I wondered about a life when I wasn’t worrying about some child somewhere, worrying about how we were going to find the funds needed to save his life. How simple my life would be I thought…
But then a young boy walked into my office. A 3-year old who had been through chemo and surgery and was here to get radiation treatment. I saw the extreme anxiety in his face. This young man didn’t want to be in any doctor’s office. Doctors equaled pain as far as he knew. For two of his three years of life, all he had known was hospitals, needles, nausea-inducing chemotherapy, painful surgeries, uncomfortable scans, excruciating biopsies, blood transfusions, and no end in sight. Here he was, in yet another doctor’s office.
I smiled and said hello, he said hello back. I asked his name and he told me. And then I asked: ‘how are you today?’ He responded: ‘I have cancer’.
Here was this young man; nervous and afraid; and all it took to make him believe I was a friend was one small lollipop. With that, he was lifting his shirt for me to examine him, trusting and believing me when I said the pain would ultimately be for his own good.
So, I faced my team members and said to them, “if a three-year-old can go through all that and still believe; then we all have to believe like him, and for him”. We don’t get to give up; because these kids, don’t have a choice in the matter. They don’t get to walk away and pretend their cancer doesn’t exist; and neither do we. The pain we are feeling now will ultimately serve some kind of good. I don’t know when, or how, or what… but I am choosing to believe.
And so; we will be here a little while longer, fighting against the tide if that’s what we have to do. Helping only one child at a time if that is all we are able to do. We will be here….